The first national tour of the smashzilla musical, The Producers, will play the historic Orpheum Theatre Nov. 12-Dec. 7, it was announced April 4.
The first staging of the show beyond its current Tony Award winning Broadway run tour is expected to launch in September in Pittsburgh, although that engagement has not been officially announced. As bookers solidify their subscription seasons in markets around the country, with Producers as the jewel in the crown, those engagements are being announced individually. A third North American staging begins in Los Angeles at the Pantages Theatre in April 2003 and a fourth staging will play Toronto beginning in late spring 2003.
No casting has been announced for any of the stagings beyond New York, but regional audiences can expect Susan Stroman's direction and choreography, the songs of Mel Brooks and a libretto shared by Brooks and Thomas Meehan, drawing on Brooks' zany 1968 film about comically corrupt Broadway producers.
Mentioned in the theatre community for roles in this first tour are Lewis J. Stadlen (Max), Jim Walton (Leo) and Lee Roy Reams (Roger De Bris), but there has been no official announcement of any casting. It is thought the Los Angeles staging might include marquee names (Liz Smith reported Jason Alexander and Martin Short), and Brooks has said he hopes that the original stars, Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick, might one day return to the show.
The plot is a kind of love affair between a luckless producer, Max Bialystock, and Leo Bloom, a mousy accountant. They hatch a to raise more money than you need for a sure-fire Broadway flop and pocket the difference. Their "sure-fire" theatrical fiasco is none other than the musical, Springtime for Hitler. Brooks won an Academy Award for the screenplay of the film. Designers are Robin Wagner (sets), William Ivey Long (costumes), Peter Kaczorowski (lighting), Steve Kennedy (sound), Glen Kelly (musical arrangements and supervision), Patrick Brady (musical direction-vocal arrangements) and Doug Besterman (orchestrations).
The show won the Tony Award for Best Musical in 2001, and most every other award of the season.
Confirmed engagements for the road show include Cincinnati's Aronoff Center Oct. 22-Nov. 10, San Diego's Civic Theatre Dec. 31-Jan. 12, 2003, and Seattle's Paramount Theatre Feb. 5-16, 2003. There has been no official announcement about the tour start date, but book writer Meehan told the Pittsburgh Post Gazette that the mega-hit would start its tour in Pittsburgh, PA in September. A casting notice noted that rehearsals for the Producers tour will start July 22, readying for a first performance in Pittsburgh Sept. 12.
The Producers on Broadway is produced by Rocco Landesman; Clear Channel Entertainment; The Frankel • Baruch • Viertel • Routh Group; Bob and Harvey Weinstein; Rick Steiner; Robert F.X. Sillerman and Mel Brooks, in association with James D. Stern/Douglas Meyer and by special arrangement with StudioCanal. It opened on Broadway on April 19, 2001.
The Broadway production at the St. James Theatre now stars Henry Goodman and Steven Weber, who recently replaced Nathan Lane and Matthew Broderick. Call (212) 239-5800 for ticket information.